The Catalytic Philanthropy Podcast

Don Carpenter — A Foundation Makes a Big Bet, and Transforms Its Philanthropy Part 1

March 22, 2022

Galvanized by a statewide landscape scan revealing deep concern for the future of Maine's young people, the board of the Emanuel and Pauline A. Lerner Foundation shifted from a portfolio of annual grants, to a laser-focused, multi-year commitment to a cohort of groups to raise youth aspirations. The Lerner board and staff also focused their own time in building relationships with grantee partners. Executive Director Don Carpenter shares how this big bet inspired the Lerner Foundation board to transform its philanthropy.



Don Carpenter, executive director of the Lerner Foundation based in Portland, Maine, has more than 30 years of senior management experience dedicated to relationship-centered leadership. Don has dedicated his life to the business of relationship building through the creation of innovative student-centered youth development organizations that empower young people to thrive. He believes that relationships – not programs - change people's lives.

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